Retrofitting suburbia: Is the compact city feasible?

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Rice, L. (2010)

This paper examines the role of retrofitting existing suburbs to deliver more sustainable lifestyles. The policy of intensification of existing urban and suburban areas is referred to as a ‘compact city’ strategy. This strategy has been promoted by the UK Government and is linked to claims that higher density, mixed use areas promote more sustainable lifestyles. Whilst the policy is normally considered at the ‘strategic’ level, it is at the local level that its effects are felt and realised. The research answered two research questions ‘Is it physically feasible to retrofit the existing suburban areas?’ And if so ‘do they deliver the claimed sustainability benefits?’ The research used the recommendations within the Urban Task Force report for restructuring existing urban form. The project found that retrofitting the suburbs is feasible and viable at the local level. In some situations it can enable more sustainable lifestyles; in particular improved accessibility, social inclusion and improved physical and mental health benefits.
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